Cork transport plan ‘falls short and vague’

Cork transport plan ‘falls short and vague’
A computer-generated view of Douglas village. The CMATS plan includes proposals for the major upgrade of Cork's bus network.

THE chairperson of Cork’s Transport & Mobility Forum has said the CMATS plan is a step in the right direction with emphasis on more sustainable travel options, but questioned the ambition of parts of the document.

City councillors were briefed by the National Transport Authority on the plans earlier this week.

Stephan Koch, who is also UCC commuter plan manager and vice chair of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said he feels active travel is underrepresented in the plans, with not enough emphasis on people walking.

The promotion of walking within certain distances should be promoted more, he believes, while he said that the future of electric bikes in the city “was completely left out” of the plans.

He said that they have the potential to increase the radius a cyclist would be willing to journey from between five and 8km to 15km.

“When you have an electric bike it opens up cycling to a far wider demographic.

Computer generated image of the Cork LUAS system as part of the CMATS.
Computer generated image of the Cork LUAS system as part of the CMATS.

“The biggest improvement with electric bikes would be that there’s going to be no hills [to climb] on the northside anymore. Far more places in the city and in the metropolitan area would become more navigable by bike.”

He said the five-year aim to have much of the large-scale cycling infrastructure developments delivered was very positive, and added that protected cycle lanes in particular were very welcome.

“It’s good that we have the increased number of buses, far more bus routes, and higher frequencies, but there is very little said beyond the traditional way of operating bus routes.”

Mr Koch added any information on car-pooling and collective taxis is “very vague”.

“I think the whole strategy falls a little bit short in terms of public transport and what is out there beyond the traditional bus and train,” he added, also saying that given the global pandemic, public transport may not be used the same way as previously in the next few years.

He also raised a concern about what from the plan will “see the light of day” due to potential funding issues following Covid-19, and said the plan needs to be set out in five year intervals with clearly defined projects and goals.

Mr Koch said it’s impossible to know whether budgets will be available for all the proposed projects over the coming years and suggested there may be some merit in reviewing some of them.

He questioned if “a fully fledged motorway all the way to Limerick” is needed or whether bypasses and road upgrades would be more feasible.

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